wildlife service

I’m devastated to learn that the white nose fungus has hit Minnesota bats in catastrophic levels this winter, with a population loss of 30-70% in some areas. The epidemic has killed millions of bats across the country, spreading from colony to colony and disturbing bats during hibernation so they use up their energy stores and freeze. Besides being precious amazing darling creatures who we should protect no matter what, bats contribute the equivalent of billions of dollars of pest control and pollination in the US, which hints at the real costs of policy decisions and budget cuts that neglect wildlife and take their services for granted.

Are you excited for World Turtle Day? From tiny, cute baby turtles to massive 1,500 pound leatherbacks, these fascinating animals can be found in almost every ecosystem around the world. Carrying their shells, they’re at home wherever they roam. Human intervention has threatened some turtle species, so please make sure you don’t disturb or distract them, especially nesting sea turtles. Photo of green sea turtles at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge by Daniel W. Clark, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Most American school children learn that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, leading us to join World War II. This week marks the 75th anniversary of Japanese-Americans being subsequently rounded up and interned as suspected enemies of the state. But there’s another tragic and untold story of American citizens who were also interned during the war. I’m a member of the Ahtna tribe of Alaska and I’ve spent the better part of 30 years uncovering and putting together fragments of a story that deserves to be told.

In June 1942, Japan invaded and occupied Kiska and Attu, the westernmost islands of Alaska’s Aleutian Chain, an archipelago of 69 islands stretching some 1,200 miles across the North Pacific Ocean toward Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. From a strategic perspective, Japan wanted to close what they perceived as America’s back door to the Far East. For thousands of years, the islands have been inhabited by a resourceful indigenous people called Aleuts. During the Russian-American Period (1733 to 1867), when Alaska was a colonial possession of Russia, Russian fur-seekers decimated Aleut populations through warfare, disease, and slavery.

Shortly after Japan’s invasion, American naval personnel arrived with orders to round up and evacuate Aleuts from the Aleutian Chain and the Pribilof Islands to internment camps almost 2,000 miles away near Juneau. Stewardship of the internment camps would fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USF&WS). Furthermore, orders included the burning of the villages to the ground, including their beloved churches, as part of a “scorched earth” policy. The Army’s stated purpose was to protect the Aleuts, who were American citizens, from the dangers of war. But one officer told astonished Aleuts that it was, as he put it, “Because ya’ll look like Japs and we wouldn’t want to shoot you.” That exchange is part of a documentary video called Aleut Evacuation.

The Other WWII American-Internment Atrocity

Photo: National Archives, General Records of the Department of the Navy

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Idaho boy injured, family dog killed by government 'cyanide bomb'
A "cyanide bomb" planted by U.S. predator-control agents targeting coyotes near homes and hiking trails on BLM land in Idaho exploded when a boy handled the device, injuring him and killing his dog, authorities and relatives said on Friday.

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - A “cyanide bomb” planted by U.S. predator-control agents targeting coyotes near homes and hiking trails in Idaho exploded when a boy handled the device, injuring him and killing his dog, authorities and relatives said on Friday.

Canyon Mansfield, 14, was playing with his yellow Labrador retriever, Casey, on Thursday afternoon near his home east of Pocatello when he saw what he thought was a sprinkler head on the ground and touched the device, causing it to detonate.

The explosion sprayed the boy and his 3-year-old, 90-pound (40 kg) pet with toxic cyanide gas, according to the boy’s mother, Theresa Mansfield.

“Canyon said there was a bang like a bomb, then an explosion of an orange substance that covered him and Casey, who was writhing in pain on the ground before he died right in front of Canyon,” she said.

Her husband, Pocatello physician Mark Mansfield, rushed to the scene and pounded on the dog’s chest in a futile effort to revive the animal.

The family and first-responders underwent decontamination procedures and the boy, who was sprayed in the face, was tested for cyanide poisoning at a hospital for the second time Friday, officials and family members said.

The device, called an M-44, was among several placed in the area by Wildlife Services, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that targets coyotes, wolves, cougars, foxes and other animals considered nuisances to farms and ranches.

The agency has been sued by conservation groups claiming that its programs to poison, trap and shoot various predator species violate federal environmental and wildlife protection laws.

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Highly intelligent and resourceful, raccoons are one of the most widespread mammals in North America. They have adapted to live in forests, mountain areas, coastal marshes and even urban centers. In Native American legends, they are known as tricksters and mischief-makers. Their characteristic masks and dexterous paws make them seem cute and approachable, but never forget that they are wild animals. Photo by Gary Miller, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

This is Una. She is currently staying at SeaWorld Orlando’s manatee rehabilitation center in one of our critical care pools. The white slatted floor is a hydraulic false bottom which can be raised in order to bring the animals up out of the water for medical treatment with minimal stress. Thanks to the tracking and observation efforts of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership, we know quite a few details about her life. 

This isn’t her first time at SeaWorld. She was rescued as an orphaned calf in 2003, weighing in at 170lbs. At a weight of 980lbs, she was released at Blue Springs State Park with a few other manatees in 2006. She has been seen with a calf of her own, which is very exciting. However, she also suffered from at least one boat strike. She recovered and was left with five propeller scars on her back. Around 90% of manatees have wounds from boat strikes. The scars are used by scientists to identify individuals. Eventually, Una shed her tracking device but was still spotted regularly and easily recognized by the “A5” ID marking on her tail. In late November of 2016, she was discovered to be severely entangled. Both of her pectoral flippers were tightly wrapped in monofilament fishing line which had cut deeply into the tissue almost to the bone. This is what happens when people toss tangled up fishing line overboard or just let wads of it blow away. Please recycle monofilament fishing line properly.

 If you’d like to visit Una during her recovery, come see the Manatee Rehabilitation Area inside SeaWorld Orlando adjacent to the sea turtle habitat. The park is currently caring for 18 manatees. An adult manatee can eat around 200lbs of wet vegetation per day, and the little orphans are bottle fed specialized formula every two hours around the clock. Rescued patients need radiographs, ultrasounds, endoscopies, daily medications, tube feedings, wound care, and complicated surgical prodecures. SeaWorld of Orlando, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, Miami Seaquarium, and the Jacksonville Zoo are the only facilites permited by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as designated manatee hospitals. Your visit funds the care of these sick and injured manatees and other rescued wildlife.

The Florida manatee was recently reclassified as “Threatened” (Previously “Endangered”), but the species is far from recovered. They still need all of the protection and support we can provide. “Not endangered” does not mean “not in danger”. If you are a Florida resident, please always vote for legislation that protects and benefits manatees. You can learn more about the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership here: public.wildtracks.org

Here’s something you don’t see everyday. Three Canada geese flying through a rainbow at Morris Wetland Management District in Minnesota. Made up of 245 small parcels of wetlands and grasslands scattered throughout an eight-county area, the Morris District restores and protects enough wetland and grassland habitat to meet the needs of prairie wildlife and breeding waterfowl, as well as providing places for public recreation. Photo by Alex Galt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

I was telling my boyfriend about this and I decided that I had to make a post to introduce tumblr to Pedals the bear.

Pedals is a very special black bear because he always walks on his two hind legs and doesn’t like to use his front paws (bipedal, hence Pedals). A few years ago people started seeing him in and around my town and for a while no one was sure what the heck he was. Some people claimed that he was a man in a bear suit until people started capturing footage of him doing his thing. He became a local celebrity and NJ news networks started covering his appearances. 

People started worrying that he might be injured or a lost performing animal that wouldn’t be able to survive in the wilderness, so they called for an investigation from the local wildlife service to see if he needed to be taken into captivity. After monitoring him though, it became clear that Pedals taught himself how to do this due to an injury to his front paws when he was young, and continued to walk out of habit. He’s perfectly healthy and able to forage and be social with no problem, so he’s still free and wandering around my town. He has fans who follow his appearances and seeing him is a great surprise :]

I hope you have your representatives on speed-dial! Use that phone for some good.

The Endangered Species Act may be heading for the threatened list. This hearing confirmed it.

A Senate hearing to “modernize the Endangered Species Act” unfolded Wednesday just as supporters of the law had feared, with round after round of criticism from Republican lawmakers who said the federal effort to keep species from going extinct encroaches on states’ rights, is unfair to landowners and stymies efforts by mining companies to extract resources and create jobs.

The Endangered Species Act is a 43-year-old law enacted under the Nixon administration at a time when people were beginning to understand how dramatically chemical use and human development were devastating species. It has since saved the bald eagle, California condor, gray wolves, black-footed ferret, American alligator and Florida manatee from likely extinction.

But members of the hearing said its regulations prevented people from doing business and making a living. In a comment to a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director who testified at the hearing, Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), repeated a point made by Barrasso that of more than 1,600 species listed as threatened or endangered since the act’s inception, fewer than 50 have been removed.

An American bald eagle prepares to snag a perch in the prime fishing grounds below Conowingo Dam in Darlington, Md., in November 2012. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

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Baby panda wants mail.

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The gray seal population in New England has bounced back, and new data points to how well seal numbers are doing.

Gray seal numbers had been decimated for more than a century when the Marine Mammal Protection Act was passed in 1972. The animals were hunted in New England, and as NPR has reported, Massachusetts even paid a bounty of $5 each.

Though it has been clear that the population has grown in number, it has been difficult to pinpoint just how much.

“Past surveys based on traditional methods of counting, using occupied aircraft to survey seals on beaches, islands and seasonal ice cover, counted about 15,000 seals off the southeastern Massachusetts coast,” David W. Johnson, a professor of marine conservation ecology at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, said in a statement.

Gray Seals, Once Hunted, Are Thriving In New England

Photo: Duke University and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Oceans are vital to wildlife and our planet. Containing 99 percent of the living space on earth, oceans are vast habitats for an impressive array of life. To celebrate World Ocean Day, we’re sharing this remarkable picture of bioluminescent plankton near Haystack Rock at Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge. From moments like this to surfing, sailing, fishing and diving, oceans are essential to our lives, economy and natural understanding. Photo courtesy of Jeff Berkes.

Check marks the spot! A recovery program for one of the rarest butterfly species in Southern California, the Quino checkerspot, has reached an important milestone. A team of biologists from the San Diego Zoo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Conservation Biology Institute and San Diego State University observed multiple adult butterflies, following the first-ever release of larvae into their native range in the San Diego Wildlife Refuge earlier this year. The sightings of adult butterflies in the habitat is an early sign of success for the recovery effort for this precious pollinator.

“In the five years that we have partnered on this project, I have personally seen a total of six Quino checkerspot butterflies in the wild, in multiple habitats,” said Paige Howorth, associate curator of invertebrates at the San Diego Zoo. “Observing more than 35 butterflies flying in one day on the reintroduction site is extraordinary—it’s a welcome measure of hope, after years of drought and uncertainty for this species.”

The work to protect the Quino checkerspot butterfly continues during the second year of the assisted rearing program at the San Diego Zoo. Biologists collected 12 females in eastern San Diego County early last week to provide a foundation for the rearing of larvae at the Zoo. The wild adult butterflies were selected in the field based on an assessment of their body condition: vigorous, slightly older females that appeared to have already mated were chosen for the project. In this way, the butterflies can contribute eggs to both the wild population and the rearing project at the Zoo.

By a largely party-line vote Tuesday, the Senate approved a bill that repeals Obama-era hunting restrictions on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. The House already voted last month to abolish those restrictions — which were instituted by the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2016 to protect predator species from hunters — and so the bill now heads to the desk of President Trump, who is widely expected to sign it.

The FWS rule facing repeal explicitly prohibited many kinds of “predator control” on the 16 federally owned refuges in Alaska. That prohibition included a ban on the aerial hunting, live trapping or baiting of predators such as bears and wolves — as well as on killing those predators while near their dens or their cubs.

Congress Rolls Back Obama-Era Rule On Hunting Bears And Wolves In Alaska

Image by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

If not for the foresight of a few individuals including Theodore Roosevelt, the American bison could have become extinct. Hunted to the edge of annihilation, by the early 20th century only a few small herds remained. In 1956, 29 bison were brought from Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge in Nebraska and released in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Here they roam freely on 46,000 acres and number in the hundreds. Photo by National Park Service.

June is National Oceans Month! Covering over 70 percent of the planet, oceans are vital to our climate, food supply and way of life. Wherever you live, everyone is connected to the ocean. Interior is a principal steward of America’s oceans, Great Lakes and coastal resources. With 88 ocean and coastal parks and 183 marine and coastal national wildlife refuges, there are countless ways to experience our country’s waters, marvel at its unique wildlife and explore its maritime heritage. Photo of a whale breaching at Kenai Fjords National Park by Kaitlin Thoreson, National Park Service.

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Noman’s Land, or No Man’s Land, is a small island off the coast of Massachusetts. The tiny piece of land is located just about 3 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. The public is banned from stepping foot on the island and no one has lived on it for over 60 years. Fish and Wildlife Services have asked that this island remains as a wildlife refuge and wants it to become federal wilderness which will grant it protection. 

The history of this island isn’t very well known. It used to be used as an aircraft test bombing site between 1943 to 1996. But before that ever happened, a single person used to live on the island. On one day in November in 1926, Joshua Crane saw something on his land he had never seen before. Etched into a stone were what seemed to be ancient Norse symbols. Crane managed to contact a photographer, Edward Gray, who was studying Norse voyages to the area and he went out to the island to see the rock. He took a few photos and sent them to an expert at Oslo University. Once deciphered, it was discovered to read “Liif Iriksson, MI.” - a famous name and the date 1001 in roman numerals. However it still is a mystery if Leif Erikson and his crew really did land on the island. 

Thanks, Obama

Originally posted by imstilljulie

When President Obama was inaugurated (the first time), Twitter wasn’t quite three years old. Facebook had only been open to the general public for two and a half years, and Tumblr had just celebrated its second birthday.

In a self-described effort to become “the most open and accessible administration in history,” the @whitehouse started to use these platforms to talk directly to their constituents. And Tumblr got to be a big part of that. Over the last eight years, the Obama administration launched more than 20 different Tumblrs for different departments, agencies, and outreach programs. Here are some heavy hitters:

Official Government Tumblrs

The White House (@whitehouse)

Originally posted by whitehouse

Most notably, The White House’s official Tumblr, which launched on April 25, 2013. For almost 4 years, it has been their informational hub for current political events and activations. In keeping with the Tumblr tone, their very first post promised that “yes, of course there will be GIFs.” And yes, there were. We could not have been more excited or proud.

NASA (@nasa)

Originally posted by nasa

NASA launched nearly two years later. They’ve spent 59 years exploring the universe and dropped the most amazing information and visuals right to your dashboard. They also knew how to use GIFs. It’s not rocket science.

The U.S. Department of State (@statedept)

Originally posted by statedept

The DOS was actually one of the first official government Tumblrs, quietly launching in April of 2011. With a more serious tone, they kept their followers up to date with the world of foreign policy. And yes, they even had GIFs for that. We cannot stress just how good this administration was with GIFs, Tumblr. Much better than Taft’s.

Letters to President Obama (@letterstopresidentobama)

Originally posted by letterstopresidentobama

Typed and handwritten letters to POTUS scanned, uploaded, and answered by the President himself. There are thank yous to and from President Obama, there are people disclosing their fear for the future and hope for their community, there are tears in your eyes within the first five minutes of visiting this Tumblr.

The Department of Interior (@americasgreatoutdoors)

Originally posted by americasgreatoutdoors

Maybe not the most well-known department, but the DOI has the most beautiful photos of any official government blog on Tumblr. This will remain true unless Joe Biden releases a Tumblr full of selfies within the next three days.

There was also the US Fish and Wildlife Service-Pacific Region (@usfwspacific), the National Archives (@usnatarchives) , the IRS (@internalrevenueservice), the Peace Corps (@peacecorps), and so, so much more.


Top Posts from the Community

This scientific trinity received over half a million notes. Say hello to these buddies:

Originally posted by u-gotta-kik

And these uh, unverified photos of President Obama making the new $100 bill in MS Paint garnered over 650k likes, reblogs, and replies.

Originally posted by antiocial

You want to click through to see the rest. 

This one is particularly timely. With over 300,000 notes, user @cognitivedissonance thanked Obama for ACA. Without it, they would not have been able to receive treatment for bronchitis.

Originally posted by cognitivedissonance

Mic (@micdotcom) posted a GIF set of a girl who sort of represented all of our feelings about President Obama not being able to run for a third term. 

Originally posted by micdotcom

Neither are we, kiddo.

One more time, while we still can: Thanks, Obama.

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado encourages you to follow your wild spirit and see what’s over the horizon. In any season, the views are epic and the experiences are unforgettable. Stopping to take a picture of one of the most beautiful sunsets he’d ever seen, photographer Brandon Sharpe noticed “an elk doing his thing” and snapped this incredible image. Photo courtesy of Brandon Sharpe.